Winter driving safety events

AS PART of their continuous efforts to promote road safety for drivers throughout the year and, importantly now, during the winter period Tayside Police is hosting winter driving safety events at various venues throughout Angus this month.

These events will provide members of the public with an opportunity to get advice from officers about being fully prepared for whatever winter has in store.

Information will be available about vehicle maintenance, child car seats, the dangers of drink and drug driving and there may be an opportunity to receive a free basic eyesight test on some of events.

Drivers can also try out a driving simulator which will gauge their hazard perception and reaction times and will also allow you to see how your vision is affected with the consumption of alcohol.

Local venues and dates are as follows: tomorrow (Saturday, December 10), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Asda, Westway Retail Park, Arbroath; Friday, December 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Morrisons, Hume Street, Arbroath; and Saturday, December 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dobbies Garden Centre, Monifieth.

Bad weather warning

Tayside Police is urging drivers to take the utmost care when out on the region’s roads, with the risk of snow and freezing rain, as well as sub zero temperatures.

Forecasters are warning that a band of persistent rain, sleet and snow will creep from the west across the rest of Scotland, including Tayside with two to five centimetres predicted above 200 metres in the area. As skies clear, the temperatures will drop below zero, with the risk of icy surfaces.

The public should be aware that this could make driving conditions difficult and potentially cause some disruption to travel.

Today (Friday), there is the risk of wintry showers, followed by windy, at times very windy, conditions with temperatures remaining cold.

Drivers are asked to be prepared, be aware of the conditions around them and reduce their speed.

They are advised to do the following:

l Get their vehicle serviced.

l Ensure the cooling system in the vehicle is topped up with anti-freeze.

l Top up the windscreen washer bottles with a suitable windscreen wash and wash the screen regularly.

l Make sure the battery is fully charged.

l Keep lights clean. Spray from the roadway will reduce the effectiveness of the beam and indicators.

l Keep tyres correctly inflated and with sufficient tread, ideally three milimetres or more.

l Check and replace wiper blades if necessary.

l Make sure windows and mirrors are kept clean and free of ice and snow in winter.

l Windows should be fully de-misted/de-iced before moving off. A low sun will seriously hamper vision and sunglasses are as useful now as they are in the summer.

Additionally they should consider the following items should be considered as essential:

l Ice scraper and de-icer.

l Torch.

l Warm clothes and a blanket.

l A pair of boots.

l First aid kit.

l Battery jump leads.

l A shovel (If it is likely to snow).

l Food and warm drink in a flask during particularly cold weather.

Drivers should also heed the following advice and information:

l Increase the gap between their vehicle and the one in front.

l On slippery roads it can take up to 10 times longer to stop.

l Drop their vehicle’s speed and allow more time to slow down. Stop by decelerating earlier, rather than relying on braking alone.

l Drive with care even if they think the roads have been treated.

l If they are unable to hear any road noise, this could be a sign they are driving on ice.

l Use dipped headlights so they can see and be seen.

l If it is very foggy (less than 100 metres visibility) then use fog lights, but switch them off whenever conditions improve or they will cause undue dazzle, which is an offence.

l Take care on flooded roads. The deepest water is usually nearest the kerb, select first gear and move forward immediately to avoid stalling the engine, while maintaining high engine revs. Test the brakes after passing through the water.

l On flood affected roads, if you vehicle loses grip, or aquaplanes, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.

People are advised to tune in to television and local radio bulletins for the latest weather and travel information. Details on any council and trunk road closures can be found at http://trafficscotland.org.

They should also log on to the Safer Scotland Ready For Winter? website on www.readyscotland.org for more valuable information.